Enrique Chia has always been a man caught between his passion for science and music. Chia’s love for music started as a child in Cienfuegos, “a very beautiful city on the south coast of Cuba. At night you would see the bay covered with little points of light from the fishermen, just like fireflies, thousands of them- such a sight that there is a song, Luna Cienfueguera, which was inspired by this beautiful sight.”
On these evenings, Chia would listen with his family as his mother played the piano. Soon he began to peck at the keys, and by age five, his mother began to see his interest and talent growing. He studied piano in his native Cienfuegos with Maestro José Manuel Vázquez, of the Conservatory of Music of Havana. Chia’s mother also instilled in him a belief that music was for personal pleasure, and not for making a living. So in 1961, just as the political climate was changing in Cuba, Chia left home to attend college at Georgia Tech, where he later obtained his Masters and PhD degrees in metallurgy.
In 1968 he married Diana Beguiristain. They established their home in Carrollton, Georgia, where their two daughters, Laura and Lisa grew up. Chia kept playing the piano for small gatherings while working at Southwire Company and teaching at Tech as an adjunct professor in the department of materials engineering. In 1986 he was selected for a special faculty position at Georgia Tech Research Institute to work with private industry in the improvement of metals-processing techniques. In 1990 he became Executive Vice president and Chief Operating Officer of American Fine Wire Company, working with computer components until 1996. He has been granted 46 U.S. patents for his research work.
Enrique Chia’s music was private until he recorded a cassette at the insistence of his father-in-law, Dr. Rodolfo Beguiristain, who wanted to make copies for family and friends. The tape was played at a shop in Miami and his music was so well received by the public, that he continued recording. Several of his CDs include the participation of master bassist Israel López “Cachao”. He has also featured flutist Nestor Torres, and legends like Olga Guillot and Libertad Lamarque, who sang accompanied by Chia’s piano in her last vocal recording. Maestro Chia has a total of 49 CDs to date, that include romantic boleros, tangos, traditional tropical, Christmas, inspirational music and two sets of international hits of American music. Several of his collections have been for sale on national television networks such as CNN, Headline News, TNT, Univision and Telemundo.
Initially performing only benefit concerts, Maestro Chia now regularly performs throughout the United States and Latin America. He has performed internationally, in countries including Mexico, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Perú and Brazil.
Enrique Chia has received numerous commendations and accolades for his music. He received a Grammy Award nomination in the best classical crossover category for his recording entitled, “The Music of Ernesto Lecuona.” He also received the prestigious Casandra International Award in the Dominican Republic. Most recently he received the 2008 Sun Coast Emmy Award in the cultural documentary category for his PBS special “Eternal Cuba.” His masterful interpretations continue to move audiences around the world with feeling and emotion.